Plans for schools to hard federate are given the go-ahead

James Calvert Spence College building in Acklington Road, Amble.
James Calvert Spence College building in Acklington Road, Amble.

A trio of schools will work together and share resources after plans for a hard federation were agreed – leading to ‘three-tier education under one name’.

Amble’s James Calvert Spence College (JCSC) and Acklington First School will operate under a new, single governing body, it was announced on Monday.

The decision follows a consultation period and aims to build on the strong foundations between JCSC – comprising the middle school South Avenue site as well as the high school and Sixth Form at Acklington Road – and the first school.

It comes after discussions between the governing bodies of JCSC and Acklington C of E First School – which also has a nursery – and it is believed that the partnership will offer continuity, the chance to share leadership, resources and expertise and provide opportunities to improve teaching and learning across all the schools, as well as providing long-term sustainability.

A new federated governing body of 17 governors has been formed. Chairman of governors Scott Dickinson said: “Acklington will join the JCSC family and continue to operate as a first school site and will remain part of the Coquet partnership, which is made up of a number of feeder first schools in the area.

“The only real difference will be streamlined leadership and governance, along with educational benefits for younger children experiencing specialist resources that our South Avenue site offers.

“Children with their teachers can move around the sites using internal transport and make use of facilities that they may not have previously been able to access.

“As a federation of three tiers all under one name, staff will know and understand the requirements of each phase of a child’s education and there will be no artificial breaks in learning for our students as they move around schools in our federation.”

As part of the partnership, Claire Cuthbert has been appointed as an interim head of school for South Avenue and Acklington First and will start in September. She said: “ I am very proud and extremely excited at the opportunity to be part of leading this federation of schools to serve the needs of the students and community.”

Earlier this month, it was announced that Neil Rodgers has been appointed as executive headteacher for the federation and will start early in the academic year.